Boone Central/Newman Grove QB Wyatt Mazour (#20) performs his magic.
The semi finals are all set for Classes A and B and will be contested this Friday. The Class C-1, C-2 11-Man and D-1 and D-2 8-Man quarterfinals will be played Tuesday, thus shaping the semi finals which will be staged next Monday and Tuesday November 18/19. You just have a gut feeling that there are some very special high school football teams in this mix that possess a group of tight knit, seniors that have what it takes to win it all. Sometimes these once-in-a-blue-moon teams come along and just have that magic formula to go the distance on a drive to glory nobody can stop.
Let's have a look at Class C-1 and pass along some observations I have gathered during this 2013 regular season and playoffs as well. As usual, some pictures seem clearer than others and some classes have their cinderellas that refuse to let the midnight clock end their dreams.
Tuesday's C-1 slate:
Wahoo Neumann (7-3) @ Columbus Lakeview (8-2):
*Last season was a rare one indeed for Bishop Neumann. The Cavs missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years recording a 2-6 record in the process. No such thing this fall. Neumann dropped their first 2 games of the season, a 33-7 opening game loss to Norfolk Catholic and a 14-7 heartbreaker to Syracuse. Their other loss was to city rival Wahoo (29-28), a loss they avenged last week 21-14. Catholic is one of the 8 quarterfinal teams and Lakeview eliminated Syracuse 25-21 last Wednesday. Wahoo Neumann runs the ball about two thirds of the time and is led by a sparkling running combination of QB Travis Carnahan (1,049 yds) and RB Colin Sabatka (914 yds). Carnahan throws only 6 passes a game and has connected on a little over 50% of his throws for 914 yards and 10 Tds with 3 interceptions. Carnahan's favorite targets are Nate Meduna, Andrew Sladky and Cole Prohaska. Cavs have a couple of dandy LB's in the 5-11, 200 pound Sabatka and Austin Woita.
*Could this group of Lakeview seniors be one of those special groups that only come along once in a blue moon? Coach Kurt Frenzen thought he had them in shape to make a serious run a year ago, but Lincoln Christian derailed the Vikings 45-39 in the opening round. The only blemishes on the Lakeview slate this season are Norfolk Catholic, a 31-27 heartbreaker in the opener, and a 48-21 bomber to Boone Central/NG in a game that just got out of hand early. Since that one the Vikings have defeated bitter rival Scotus twice in a week's span and of course Syracuse. Spectacular Jake Shadley is at the controls for Lakeview and has completed 47% of his passes for 1,124 yards and 18 touchdowns with only 4 picks. Sprint sensation Mark Jarecke has had his finest year as running back, rushing for 763 yards (9 yds/per) and 11 scores. Evan Dewald can also gain some yards and could be a hero at RB in one of these games. Jarecke is a dangerous kick and punt return man and is averaging nearly 200 all purpose yards a contest. Ethan Scheffler and Austin Urkoski are the top recievers and Urkoski can win a game for you in the field goal department. On defense, Jarecke, Urkoski, and Dewald lead the way. Lakeview could very well get chance to avenge the Lincoln Christian playoff loss from a year ago and just may end up in Lincoln for all the marbles.
Last meeting between these two school was way back in 2003 when Neumann spanked Lakeview 41-13 in the regular season finale.
Lincoln Christian (9-1) @ Ashland-Greenwood (9-1):
*Only loss this season for Ashland-Greenwood was to quarterfinalist Bishop Neumann 29-28 on October 4th. The Bluejays have dispensed of Boys Town (42-0) and Wilber-Clatonia (28-23) thus far in the playoffs. A/G averages about 343 yards a game on offense and runs the ball 62% of the time. QB Gunnar Garner (love that name!), who shines on both sides of the ball, has completed 57% of his passes for 1,188 yards and 12 TDs and has run for 912 yards. Achilles heal for Garner may be the 12 interceptions that match his touchdown total. Rest of the running game is average with Bo Kitrell leading the way with 554 yards and 7 Tds. Not far off is a Freshman Trevor Nickelsen, who has rushed for 456 yards and 6 scores. Not too often you see a freshman backfield starter in C-1. When Garner throws, his eyes will be pealed for junior Trevor Craven (24 receptions for 504 yds). On the defensive side of the ball Garner is a bonafide all-state type DB, but the ring leader is Kitrell who has 30 solos, and a hefty 122 assists. 6-2, 225 pound DL Zack Kramer can make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks having record 5 sacks and 104 tackle points.
*All you have to know about Lincoln Christian is that the Crusaders can flat out light up the scoreboard. Christian has averaged nearly 45 points a contest and has lost only to Syracuse 42-21 when RB Ben Plambeck was out with an injury. Sharp shooting quarterback Logan Power has connected on nearly 70% of his passes for over 1,900 yards and 23 tds and is a solid running threat, rushing for 685 yards. Ben Plambeck is right behind with 681 rushing yards. When Power throws, he loves to find Leighton Chicoine who has amassed 1,020 yards in receptions and 16 Tds. Christian can strike in a hurry and specializes in big plays.
Classic match-up of Ashland-Greenwoods staunch defense against Lincoln Christian's high powered offense. Which will rule in this meeting?
Gothenburg (8-2) @ Cozad (10-0):
*This Cozad team may very well have the group of seniors that refuse to lose. Untested against any Eastern power, the Haymakers took the long trip to perennial power Pierce last Wednesday. After shaking off some bus legs, super star Jake "The Snake" Paulsen ran over, under around and through the Bluejay defense for 352 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 34-12 Haymaker win. Paulsen, a two year 1000 yard man, has rushed for 1,864 yards and 22 scores. Paulsen only needs one step and the :10.5/:21.5 sprint champion is gone to the house. Cozad will run the ball 83% of the time, but when QB Nate Bubak throws, he is connecting on 40% of those passes for 641 yards and 8 Tds. Needless to say, Paulsen is a dangerous kick return man, but junior Conor Young is an equally dangerous punt returner as well as pass reciever. Young has glue-like hand and has 12 catches (330 yds), 5 of which went for scores. The Haymaker defense is outstanding, yielding only 212 yards a contest and 6-2, 210 pound Alex Boryca is about as good as they come at linebacker (98 tackle points). Tanner Evertson and junior Colin Wetovick are also stellar defenders. To show how balanced this defense is, 20 different players have double digit tackle points this season.
The Haymakers have to overcome a Gothenburg team they beat during the 2012 regular season then were knocked out of the playoffs in the opening round with a resounding 23-0 loss. Cozad won the regular season game this fall, 19-0.
*Man oh man, can Swede head coach Craig Haake get his teams ready for the playoffs. The 'Burg has advanced past the first round in it's last 5 playoff appearances and have made the quarterfinals the past 2 seasons. If you think Cozad runs the ball most of the time, you ought to see the Swedes. Through 9 games, Gothenburg QB Blake Ristine had thrown only 26 passes. RB Zach Wolf leads the Swede's ground attack with over 800 yards and on the defensive side of things Gothenburg allows less yards per game than Cozad, giving up a measley 199 yds/game. Tyler Kottwicz and Ristine lead the way on "D" for the 'Burg and senior Trent Long can kick a game winner if given the opportunity (and has).
This is one of the biggest rivalries in the state in C-1 and Tuesday's game in the frigid temperatures should be a dandy.
Norfolk Catholic (8-2) @ Boone Central/Newman Grove (10-0):
*Oh Mama, does it get any better than this? This will be the fourth meeting between these two super powers the past two seasons. Norfolk Catholic beat Boone last year 24-13 to win it's third consecutive C-1 State Championship. The Cardinals beat Norfolk Catholic 28-22 back on September 13th this fall and have not lost in 2013. Boone Central was led by a Mazour in 2012 and nothing has changed this season. Junior Wyatt Mazour, whose brother Tanner led the way a year ago, has been nothing less than spectacular in 2013. Mazour has led the Cardinals to a C-1 leading 411 yards per game on offense. Through 9 games, Mazour had rushed for 848 yards and completed 73 of 119 passes for 1,167 yards. Opposing defenses hold their breath when Mazour returns punts or kick-offs. Twin brothers Joseph and Matthew Brugger are big contributors and the huge offensive and defensive lines of the Cardinals have paved the way for Mazour on offense and stuffed most every opposing offense. Despite losing potential all-state players Derek Gentrup and Michael Hedlund, the Cardinals have still flourished.
*Norfolk Catholic has dropped games to Boone and arch rival Pierce this season. Splendid running back Jackson Love leads the way for the Knights on offense, gaining 1,380 yards through the regular season alone. Norfolk Catholic will run the football 79% of the time, but Zach Pospisil can fling it when he has to, completing 51-97 for 601 yards and 10 TDs through 9 games. Kegan Ehlers is Zach's favorite target. On defense the Knights give up 241 yards a game, just 11 more than Boone. Love is an excellent linebacker on the "D" side of things along with Riley McCarthy. Lineman Joe Braithwait, Jordan Cattau and a DB Zach Pospisil also contribute big time when Catholic is on defense.
Pick a winner..........I'll stay out of this one.
Get out and see a game Tuesday!